After a great deal of deliberation, MSU has decided to embrace the culture shift in sports and fund a League of Legends (LOL) team as an official part of the athletic department. As a result, funding is being pulled from MSU’s long-standing football program in a move that has received scrutiny from university donors, Bozemanites and students.
MSU President Waldo Cruzaldo released a statement regarding the decision that reads:
“After a thorough examination of MSU’s current athletic program, we have decided to add an Esports team to MSU’s thriving athletics. Because of this we are pulling some of the excessive funding from MSU’s football program to use it to grow the new Esports team. We believe at MSU that diversity is important in our students gaining a comprehensive education that will prepare them for their bright futures. By now funding our League of Legends team it will provide MSU a unique opportunity to grant scholarships to students with differing backgrounds. It also allows MSU to pursue individuals who tend to be more academically inclined than other student-athletes.”
Several other MSU officials have responded to the decision and the criticism it has received from the community. MSU Athletic Department Head Leanon Costhellno responded to the release, saying “At first this was a decision I was completely opposed to, but after talking to my grandchildren who said I need to get with the times, I eventually came around and will be a huge supporter of the new Esports team.”
MSU Football Head Coach Geoff Choaterboate held a press conference where he unapologetically bashed the university’s decision to pull funding from what he called his “precious football team.” While addressing the media Choaterboate held back tears, asking, “What the heck even is this Esports thing anyway? I was told they play on something called a computer? Regardless, myself and my staff have worked incredibly hard to build a winning outfit and all that work is being stripped from us after a careless decision.”
MSU plans to hire a coach for the new LOL team in the coming weeks and begin aggressively recruiting up-and-coming League players. Open tryouts will be held for students hoping to join the team, with a date to be announced after a coach is chosen.